Efficient Electric Buses from Proterra

In a new report from IDTechEx, “Hybrid and Electric Buses and Taxis 2013-2023: Forecasts, Opportunities, Players”, it is projected that the market for electric buses and taxis will rise over 8 times from $6.24 billion in 2011 to $54 billion in 2021. One company that is well-positioned to take advantage of this growth is Proterra.

About Proterra

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Founded in 2004, South Carolina based Proterra has taken in over $120 million so far from the likes of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mitsui Ventures, General Motors Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank. Just last week Proterra closed their second round of Series C investment bringing total Series C funding to date of more than $34 million. Proterra is the manufacturer of the only battery-electric buses purchased for revenue service anywhere in North America. The EcoRide™ is the world’s first battery-electric bus with fast charge enabled infinite range.

Update 10/15/2020: Proterra has raised $200 million to increase the company’s footprint in additional commercial vehicle segments. This brings the company’s total funding to $681.8 million to date. 

Value Proposition

The Proterra EcoRide bus not only has the looks, it also has the performance. The EcoRide promises $750,000 in fuel savings vs. diesel over a 16-year life cycle, and $130,000 in maintenance savings over the same time frame. The efficient 21+ MPG (Diesel BTU Equivalent) electric bus can fully charge in under 10 minutes and can run 300+ miles per day on 30+ miles per charge. The FastFill™ Charging Station automatically connects to the EcoRide and allows the bus to be rapidly charged in 5-10 minutes while passengers load and unload with >92% energy charge efficiency in as little as 6 minutes. The batteries used in the EcoRide are manufactured by Altair Nanotechnologies, a company we have profiled before, which in May 2012 signed a contract to supply nano lithium titanate battery modules to Proterra.

Some of the EcoRide’s features can be seen below:

Proterra_Bus

Conclusion

Proterra states that they have already meet all of the goals the Federal Transit Administration has set forth for its preferred electric drive vehicle of the year 2030. With buses in service by 2010, this means the EcoRide is 20 years ahead of schedule. According to an article published yesterday on InsideEVs, in 2013 Proterra sold or received orders for about 40 EcoRide buses. According to Proterra, their current manufacturing facility has the capacity to produce up to 400 buses per year with room for expansion. It will be interesting to see what bus production numbers Proterra can achieve in 2014 with their recently closed funding round.

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